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News/Business. Live news coverage, breaking news and current news events with host Thomas Roberts. New.

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Us 13, Benghazi 9, Mexico 7, Washington 5, Fbi 4, Israel 4, Petraeus 4, Nbc 3, Tom Rooney 3, John Mccain 3, Nancy Pelosi 3, New Nectresse 3, U.s. 3, Msnbc 3, Chris Roberts 2, Cia 2, Ryan 2, Campbell 2, Rogers 2, Unitedhealthcare 2,
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  MSNBC    MSNBC Live    News/Business. Live news coverage, breaking news  
   and current news events with host Thomas Roberts. New.  

    November 16, 2012
    8:00 - 8:59am PST  

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that is almost the same distance between houston and galveston, texas. we'll go live to gaza city as the attacks enter into this thursday. explain how the violence is playing out. i know you have been hearing more of the rockets going off behind you just recently. >> that is correct. if there is anyone hoping there would be a lull in the violence it certainly hasn't happened. let me start with a little bit of the military activity and the countermilitary activity from this side of the fence. you have the palestinian factions firing rockets into southern israel and israeli airport systematically bombing gaza essentially nonstop over the last 24 hours. it peaks at night time. now that nightfall has set in gaza you can expect increase in aerial activity by the israeli air force as it begins to carry out the attack. the problem in the eyes of many palestinians here is that gaza is densely populated. you can't really separate the civilian population from where israel is trying to carry out these attacks.
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what we've seen is if you will a spike in the casualties among the palestinian civilian population. there was a child killed earlier today in an israeli air strike. a short while ago we heard palestinian factions firing rockets into southern israel. it is difficult to assess where they land but we do know they are firing them in that direction. and it really raises questions about the efficiency of the israeli operation if it was in fact able to deter the palestinian rocket fire as if set out to do. the big question now though is really about the imminent ground invasion and that is a concern everyone has, whether or not it will actually take place. israel has amassed forces on the border and inside gaza according to some of the palestinian factions we've been speaking to. they have placed antitank mines all along the border between israel and the gaza strip. it is something that the ordinary people of gaza find to be very alarming and certainly very concerning that in fact in the coming days or coming hours there could be an escalation in this type of violence. >> when we talk about the
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escalation, how close is israel to a ground invasion? with the rockets going back and forth as you point out, the rocket launchers in gaza are located in more densely populated areas. but as we see what is going on, is there potential for israeli troops to go into gaza? >> well, there certainly is potential. there is precedence for it in 2008 after systematic air bombardment for nearly two weeks israel did launch a ground invasion into the gaza strip. keep in mind this isn't a war between two equal sides. this isn't a war between two fully functioning militaries. israel is a modern, sophisticated, very well equipped military. the palestinian factions fighting it are certainly not equipped with the same kind of equipment and weapons. that creates the dangerous equation of going into a place like gaza. it is urban warfare and with urban warfare comes a spike in civilian casualties. now, there are questions being asked which if you aren't able to suppress the palestinian rocket fire using aerial attacks as we've seen over the past 48,
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72 hours, do you need to go in with a ground invasion? and that is what some people here are questioning. is that the only solution in the eyes of the israelis? certainly from a palestinian perspective they'll say they have the ability to fire rockets even beyond a ground invasion as they did in 2008. >> ayman, thanks so much. we take you to washington where high stakes meetings are under way at the white house this hour. and also on the hill. first though to the white house where the president convened a pow-wow minutes ago with congressional leaders there to talk about the tsunami of tax hikes and spending cuts set to go into effect at the end of the year known as the fiscal cliff. the president offering these remarks just a short time ago. take a listen. >> i think we're all aware that we have some urgent business to do. we've got to make sure that taxes don't go up on middle class families, that our economy remains strong, that we're creating jobs, and that is an
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agenda democrats and republicans and independents, people all across the country share. getting the lion's share of attention today in washington is general petraeus. his testimony before two closed hearings. the first with the house intelligence committee at 7:30 a.m. this morning. his second started about two hours ago with the senate intel committee. new york congressman peter king revealing after the house hearing there was one question early on about petraeus's affair with biographer paula broadwell. >> he was asked at the start did that have any impact on his testimony? he said no. >> but the focus of the hearing was the deadly attack of the u.s. consulate in benghazi and congressman dutch ruppersberger saying the former cia director made it clear there was terrorist involvement. >> he reinforced the fact that initially, the first 24 hours, he felt at that point or the cia felt at that point that this was a protest as a result of what
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happened with the film with egypt. he clarified that after more information came in, there was not a protest. >> general petraeus' testimony comes today the morning after cia acting director michael morell and james clapper the director of national int intelligence went before members of congress in two other hearings and hours after attorney general eric holder defended the decision not to bring members of congress into the loop sooner. >> we follow the facts. we do not share outside the justice department, outside the fbi the facts of ongoing investigations. we made the determination as we were going through the matter that there was not a threat to national security. >> let's jump right in and bring in our friday morning political power panel. we have jackie kucinich political reporter for "usa today", democratic strategist blake zeb and msnbc contributor robert trainum. great to have you all here.
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we just heard from congressman king earlier today saying the general was asked right off the top whether the affair had an impact on his testimony. he said no. they moved on. but are all indications then that the affair is now a side note and lawmakers are truly focused on what took place in benghazi and the intelligence they have now? >> this very minute, yeah. i think that's the case. will that remain the focus? i don't know. because there's a lot of questions still out there about petraeus and his relationship with his biographer as well as joe kelly in tampa. and general allen. i mean, there are a lot of moving parts here. and there's a lot of probing going on there. so i think right now the focus is this briefing but we could very easily go back to the scandal. >> one thing comparisons are already being drawn between petraeus's testimony in september on the 14th and his testimony today. take a listen to how peter king, the congressman described it
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earlier. >> now clearly believe there was -- did not arise out of a dlon administration, was not spon tain yo spontaneous and was clear terrorist involvement. >> said that straight out? >> yes. >> there is a difference here from september 14th the testimony petraeus gave then until today. isn't there an expectation though that the intelligence would evolve as the investigation moves forward? >> absolutely. we always know, thomas, it's often times the first reports are wrong. intelligence sometimes gets it wrong. and hence the reason why we're still arm chair quarterbacking after iraq. sometimes things go wrong. i think that is the question really is whether or not republicans are going to accept that or not because that is where the whole susan rice benghazi statement comes in at and obviously general petraeus as well. or is it that perhaps the -- maybe the facts were kind of nuanced or perhaps maybe they were fudged a little bit? that's the real question. because i think most people realize, especially lawmakers on the intelligence committee know that sometimes the intelligence is simply not accurate the first
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time around. >> blake, is there an expectation this will bring closure or resolution from the right as robert points out whether or not republicans are going to be satisfied by this testimony? >> i think it really depends on what angle the republicans pursue in this case. if we go back initially when the incident first occurred of course mitt romney's initial reaction was to try to politicize this and say that the president was sympathizing with the other side. of course that didn't go over very well and then the next attempt was to try to say, well, the president was incompetent in terms of security but then it came out that the administration's attempt to get more funding for embassy security was cut by republicans in the house. so now we have a third attempt by the republicans to try to blame the president. in this case they're talking about the time line. you know how republicans are saying that the president lied. i think all americans want to see an honest investigation here about what happened. it is very important that something like this not happen again. the problem is if the republicans are seeking to politicize this, i don't think this is going to end very soon.
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>> from your sources jackie what are you hearing? what will bring resolution to this? >> again, i think we have -- secretary clinton is going to testify in the house. i imagine she'll do so in the senate as well. i think lawmakers are going to have a lot of questions and we'll be talking about this for a while. until there is some kind of final report on this. and until all of the facts are known i think we'll keep hearing about it. >> can i say something? >> yes. jump in. >> you know, it is the job of the congress regardless of whether it's republican or democrat to ask the tough questions and obviously to hold the executive branch accountable. but the question becomes whether or not it becomes too hostile and only the american people can decide that. it is the congress's right and prerogative constitutionally to ask these tough questions. >> absolutely. >> let's, speaking of tough questions, a lot are probably going to be bandied about as we speak at the white house, some are softening their hard line toward tax hikes for the wealthy. we have virginia's bob mcdonald who said quote the people have
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spoken. i think we have to be more flexible now. this is all going on as we say today the president inviting this bipartisan group of congressional leaders to the white house to talk about the fiscal cliff. is this an indication governors on the right giving a thumbs up to congressional leaders they need to have open arms about tax revenues? >> i think the tone is very conciliatory right now but i don't know that is going to continue as we move on. we saw this a little bit the last time this happened. there was some talking about meeting in the middle and then it all blew apart because of the caucuses. and so i again think while the leaders are talking like this i think it is another thing implementing policy entirely. >> rnc chair reince priebus yesterday pointed out several reasons the republicans lost in this election including the changing demographics. however, as nbc's first read points out there is no easy fix for the republicans moving forward. where do they start? where do people like reince
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priebus start when there is no real definition of republican leaders that are emerging right now? >> well, it really goes back to what do you believe? and if you believe what you believe are you willing to compromise to bring people of color, to bring gays and lesbians, to bring women over to your side? what the republican party has a problem with right now, it is not about the messaging. they know what they believe and what they think. the problem is that the other side, and the vast majority of people out there don't agree with that message. and so the question then becomes whether or not you're willing to moderate your message and/or change your policy positions to bring people, new people to the fold. this is the main problem that democrats have quite frankly in the late 19 # 0s, early 1990s when bill clinton came in and said we are way too left and have to moderate our positions and that is where the democratic leadership council came in. there are a lot of democrats that were very upset with bill clinton during the late '80s and early '90s. they obviously won the white house back in 1992 because they nominated a moderate to center
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democrat that could win independents and women and people of color and so forth? >> there is an article that the tea party is over. that obviously is the right of the right fringe element of the republican party. very hard line. they certainly had a bigger voice when more of those supported members were elected to congress in 2010, but is that accurate? do you think the tea party is over for extreme conservea tichl? >> time will tell. clearly last tuesday voters didn't express happiness or support for the tea party very clearly. the question will be whether the republican party tries to move as jonathan just described, kind of moderates their message or still beholden to that kind of extreme part of the party? we're starting to see a few dfrs say we should have flexibility
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on the tax revenue question but talking about it and action are two very different things. i think we'll know soon. >> is that the big onus on john boehner? >> i think it is the onus on all of the negotiators. it's all of them at this point. because that's where the spotlight is. yeah. it's going to be quite a task. we saw that when this happened the last time. it's going to come right up to the line. i think we might be here late december. >> the drama will take us through the end of the year. our power panel, jackie kucinich, blake, robert, thanks to all three of you. up next i'll talk with someone who was in this morning's closed door hearing with general petraeus, republican congressman tom rooney will join the show. what do you think about today's testimony? tweet me your comments at thomas a. roberts. we're back after this. [ male announcer ] when was the last time something made your jaw drop? campbell's has 24 new soups that will make it drop over, and over again. ♪ from jammin' jerk chicken, to creamy gouda bisque. see what's new from campbell's. it's amazing what soup can do.
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a big morning on capitol hill. general petraeus' testimony there this morning getting a lot of buzz and the general testifying before two closed hearings. one before the house intel committee. the other before the senate intelligence committee. joining me now is republican congressman tom rooney who was at this morning's house hearing. good to have you here. let's start off with what can you tell us? what was elaborated upon about the general's testimony this morning that brings any clarification to you about what happened on september 11 at the benghazi consulate? >> today we, you know, also met yesterday with general clapper and a lot of the other intelligence and fbi and nctc as well as ambassador kennedy. that was more of a timeline with the closed circuit tv and drone video, really for hours and hours we dissected what happened yesterday. today it really was more about what general petraeus came to the intelligence committee on september 14th and said at that
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time versus what ended up happening. there was a little bit of a disagreement among the members of whether or not he was sort of putting out there that it was more of a response to what was happening in cairo and the video as opposed to, no, this was a terrorist attack. my take away was that, you know, their initial reaction was it was a response to what was going on in cairo but there may have been also other elements of terrorism there and from there it went to secretary rice who seemed to focus just on the video rather than saying it was a lot of different things. so i'm kind of in the middle on this in my dissection. i do think petraeus did say that there's a lot of things that play here but once he released that to the administration, they chose to focus primarily on the video and not so much on the other elements. i really don't know why they did that. it doesn't really make sense to
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me. but that's pretty much how today went. >> sir, if senator john mccain has called for a watergate style investigation into the attack, basically asking for a select committee coming out earlier this week with senators to say they aren't going to get enough information through what we're seeing in the testimony of petraeus and thinks there is an under current here of something else. do you agree that there needs to be a select committee formed? >> oraniginally i didn't becausi think that's our job on the intelligence committee but i heard senator mccain say we have homeland security, we have judiciary, armed services, foreign affairs, and intelligence committees. so for the sake of trying to get everybody on the same page without having constantly to call these witnesses over and over again, and monopolizing really the next year it is maybe a good idea but my focus on this as a former prosecutor has
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always been why did those americans die and what could we have done to prevent it? . for me it all boils down to the security at the two compounds there was grossly inadequate and it's something that hopefully in the future how do we improve on that and we have a lot of improvement to do because the way that we secure that compound on 9/11, we were only asking for trouble and trouble came. >> when you say grossly inadequate how do you mean? >> well, basically we had less than a handful of security there for the ambassador. i don't know why the ambassador was there on 9/11 to begin with but that is a whole other story. secondly we're relying on local libyan militia who if there was anything coordinated about the two attacks the compound and at the annex is that there was a coordinated absence by the people that were supposed to be protecting us this being the libyan militia. they were nowhere to be found. if you watch these videos, it is literally like these people come
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into the gate, they burn the consulate down, and they start doing more coordinated, direct fire on the annex as well. there is no security there. we are literally on an island and it's just amazing, the whole time i'm watching this i'm saipg, whesaip saying where is our security? it is nowhere to be found. my recommendation would be for the fbi to look at that and for the recommendation of the administration in the future for these type of embassys across the world there has to be more guarantee that our ambassadors are going to have the kind of protection that's not some libyan style militia that obviously doesn't work. >> senator, when we talk about that and just so our viewers understand the onus is on the country where we are. where the embassy is to help with that security situation. in this regard, because there are certainly embassies around the world that are better protected but that protection is offered by the country, itself. >> that is true, thomas.
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you know, we also -- the state department also has a role in negotiating with the libyan government, hey, we appreciate the fact that you are going to try to help with securing the outside of the compound just like in washington, d.c. here, the d.c. metro police might help. but we're also going to have a detachment of seals or marines or something because we just need to make sure that our diplomats are protected. that is the kind of thing moving forward we cannot just rely on the agreement and we had an informal agreement with the libyans that they would provide some kind of assistance. it wasn't enough. i mean, the president says that the buck stops with him and that he did everything he could. my response to that, you may have done everything you could but it wasn't enough because our people are dead. and so to do better in the future we had to i think seriously revisit how we protect these compounds and these areas of the world. >> congressman tom rooney, thanks for joining me. i really appreciate it. >> thanks, thomas. coming up, though, we have
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this breaking news i need to pass along right now. the coast guard is telling msnbc news an oil rig exploded and is burning in the gulf of mexico. a helicopter crew was rushing to remove four victims from this rig. the owner of the platform is black elk oil company. we'll talk to someone from the coast guard coming up after this break. the coast guard telling nbc news that an oil rig has exploded and is burning in the gulf of mexico. we're back with much more right after this. ♪ i'd like to thank eating right, whole grain, multigrain cheerios! mom, are those my jeans? [ female announcer ] people who choose more whole grain tend to weigh less than those who don't. multigrain cheerios
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more washington gridlock. no, it's worse -- look, our taxes are about to go up. not the taxes on our dividends though, right? that's a big part of our retirement. oh, no, it's dividends, too. the rate on our dividends would more than double. but we depend on our dividends to help pay our bills. we worked hard to save. well, the president and congress have got to work together to stop this dividend tax hike. before it's too late. we are back now with more on breaking news we went to break with about this oil platform exploding. and it's burning in the gulf of mexico. joining me now on the telephone, is u.s. coast guard petty officer ryan tippets who can help fill us in. so please explain what we know first off about any injuries that are involved with this explosion. >> okay sir. from the initial information we have there are four people being commercially medevacced by helicopter.
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i don't have any information on their exact injuries. >> and when were you first initially alerted to a situation or some type of explosion on that platform? >> our offices here were notified around 9:15 this morning. >> around 9:15. so it's almost 11:30 here on the east coast. for you guys about an hour and 15 minutes ago, correct? >> right. that is correct, sir. >> okay. when we talk about the location of this certainly what is going to come to mind for a lot of people is bp and the oil rig explosion that happened several summers ago. what do we know about the location of where this is in respect to that? >> okay. this is approximately 20 miles south of grand isle, louisiana. i don't have an exact location in relation to the deep water explosion. >> we have the map up right now pointing out to everybody where grand isle is. sir, what do we know about being able to protect what has been damaged there and the potential
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for oil spill? >> we have several coast guard assets enroute to assist in any way possible and to help any persons that need medical aid and assess the situation with the oil. >> again, four people have been medevacced out of there. do we know how many people were onboard that platform? >> no. we can't confirm how many were onboard. >> okay. but again, four people have been taken. when we talk about the -- what could have been the catalyst to this explosion is there any information on that? >> no, sir. we don't have any information on what caused it. >> okay. we'll let you get back to work. thank you so much for joining us, ryan tibbits from the u.s. coast guard. we appreciate it. to just go over the breaking news we're learning from the coast guard how this confirmation that an oil rig has exploded there in the gulf of mexico in the grand isle area, it louisiana, four individuals
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have been medevacced off of that platform. say again? two people? okay. learning two people are missing. as we heard there from the coast guard we don't have an accurate number of how many people were actually working onboard the platform or what the situation was leading up to the explosion but again getting the information now that two people are missing and four have been medevacced to the hospital. we'll try to work more information on this and bring it to you when we get it here at msnbc. moving back to one of our bigger stories today going behind closed doors general david patraeus testifying before the house and senate intelligence committees. what he told congress and what he did ahead. i'll talk with the ranking member of the house intelligence committee congressman dutch ruppersberger. music is a universal language.
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willing to give? here's what the president said within the last hour just before the bargaining began. >> our challenge is to make sure that, you know, we are able to cooperate together, work together, find some common ground, make some tough compromises, build some consensus to do the people's business and what the folks are looking for and i think all of us agree on this is action. >> nbc's kristen welker is live at the white house. give us a brief on the expectations going in -- open minded or closed minded from both sides? >> reporter: well, i think both sides are definitely open minded but that is not to say there aren't huge hurdles that they have to get over in order to come to some sort of deal to avoid the fiscal cliff which of course by all accounts if they cannot do that it could lead the economy back into a recession. there is certainly a lot of urgency. today is sort of the jumping off point, their first meeting. you've heard president obama
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talking about the importance of compromise. however, the fact that he did win re-election and believes the majority of americans agree with him that wealthier americans should pay more in taxes. so what that specifically means is that the president wants the bush era tax cuts to expire for those making less than $250,000 or rather more than $250,000 but to extend them for those making less than $250,000. republicans have said they do not want to see taxes go up although house speaker boehner has said he is willing to talk about tax reform. so what does all of this mean? it means there might be wiggle room on the actual tax rate. right now the bush era tax cuts will go up to 39%. could they actually agree to make them 35%? 34%? we'll have to see. so that is potential room for compromise. i can tell you folks on both sides are saying there probably won't be a whole lot of progress made on this point until after thanksgiving. >> kristen, when we talk about the fact that the revenue rates, we're talking about marginal tax rate increases.
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>> yes. >> the potential -- potentially the right could be open to those? >> that's right. potentially. there are also a lot of members within the republican caucus who are digging in their heels and saying that we aren't going to be open to any sort of tax increase. another option though, thomas, is to roll back tax breaks for wealthier americans or large corporations so that is another form of compromise we might see come out of this. there are a lot of different options and that's what these lawmakers have to hammer through right now. >> all right. we'll see how it goes. kristen welker at the white house, thanks so much. i appreciate it. a few minutes ago we got the republican perspective on the testimony on the hill this morning from david patraeus. we want to get the viewpoint from the other side of the aisle with maryland congressman dutch ruppersberger. sir, it is great to have you with me this morning. i'd like to start by getting your reaction to general petraeus's testimony this morning. what did it reveal to you about how much more we know about the investigation of benghazi? >> well the first thing i think it was very important for the country, for our intelligence
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community who are looking at this matter and also for general petraeus to come before us to resolve a lot of questions that have been out there, a lot of allegations. as an example that he resigned so he wouldn't have to testify on benghazi. that's not true. i think by general petraeus volunteering to come before our committee this morning it brought closure to a lot of these issues. >> you also had the opportunity believe to speak to the general before he actually testified. can you reveal to us what you two spoke about? >> we just -- i know things are tough for you and your family, you've done a great job representing our country especially in iraq and afghanistan. you know, we appreciated chairman rogers and i working with you as the director of the cia. and we, you know, hope that whatever happens to you in your future we know you have to resolve a lot of personal issues, we wish you good luck. then we just talked a little bit about some of testimony he was going to give before our committee this morning. that was really the conversation.
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>> sir, as ranking member of the house intelligence committee, you were probably privy to information about the fbi investigation before many of your colleagues. does that kind of drag around through these investigations, these hearings, excuse me, the investigation as a white elephant in the room? >> not really. because our focus is on the benghazi issue. the investigation started as it relates to general petraeus, started as a criminal investigation involving a situation where you had a cyber threat where someone was threatening someone else and that's how the investigation started. and the fbi has investigations all the time. i was a former investigative prosecutor myself. and as these issues evolved, as they started to look to the issue they then found that general petraeus had this situation. that investigation is continuing to go on. what we had to focus on on the intelligence side is we oversee the intelligence communities, the cia, the nsa, fbi, and we
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had to make sure there weren't any breaches or any problems as it related to national security. those are issues i really can't talk about and that matter is still being investigated. >> when it comes to resolution on this issue, senator john mccain has asked for a select committee. what do you think will draw a resolution, a conclusion to this issue? >> i think we have to let the fbi do their job. they're as good as any investigative agency in the world. they've done an outstanding job in investigations throughout the years. i think we have committees who do focus on their areas of expertise. as an example in the intelligence committee we focus on anything having to do with national security and the oversight of our intelligence communities. but you have other groups -- homeland security, you have other groups that might be focused on something that comes out as a result of this. the most important thing is we let the professionals do the job. we follow the facts and then we
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then as members of congress come together and make the decisions on what occurred and how things occurred. if you're talking about the benghazi issue we had four americans killed. we have to see whether there were intelligence failures. we have to make sure more importantly that americans who work for the state department or united states, anywhere in the world, are protected. and we want to see based on the incidents that occurred here what happened, why there were four deaths, and then make sure it doesn't happen again. >> sir, obviously with the four deaths there was an intelligence failure but what senator john mccain and others that are working with him would like to believe that there is some type of grander cover up about that intelligence failure. does this bring resolution to that? >> first thing you said, there was intelligence failure. i can't agree there was entirely intelligence failure. the intelligence community did put people in the area of benghazi and libya generally that was a hot spot and it was an area where you had to be on high alert.
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they did not pick up the actual attack itself. we're evaluating whether or not it was or was not an intelligence failure. let me say this. i have tremendous confidence in my role on the intelligence committee that we have, i believe, the best intelligence in the world and what makes it good, too, is all of our agencies now that didn't happen before 9/11 are working together as a team sharing information. now the issue of cover up, let's talk about the facts. where are the cover ups? there was an issue out there that general petraeus was not going to -- resigned and wouldn't testify on benghazi. the whole issue is the initial comment general petraeus made to us and i assume that is what ambassador rice got that in the beginning they felt this incident occurred as a result of what happened in egypt. that was just based on what they learned the first 24 hours. as it turned out that was not the case. but during this whole period of time, the general said and the intelligence community said it was a terrorist attack and there were terrorists involved in the situation all the way through.
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so what we're doing now is following the facts. chairman rogers, clearly made the point not to subject ourselves to the media until we came back, the session in our committee had these hearings so we would not get caught up in the constant media frenzy that's been going on for the last couple weeks and we have to follow the facts. that is what we're doing right now. >> congressman dutch ruppersberger thanks for your time this morning. >> okay. >> want to take you back now more for breaking news we brought you this hour, the oil platform that has exploded and burning in the gulf of mexico. helicopter crews have rescued at least four people. no word exactly on their injuries except they've been medevacced to a hospital locally. two other people may be missing. we'll follow the story and bring you details as we get them. but coming up, the discussions about a second-term curse? it's happened to a lot of presidents. how can president obama avoid it?
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if you develop an allergic reaction, a severe rash, or signs of unusual behavior, stop taking tamiflu and call your doctor immediately. children and adolescents in particular may be at an increased risk of seizures, confusion or abnormal behavior. the most common side effects are mild to moderate nausea and vomiting. the flu comes on fast, so ask your doctor about tamiflu. prescription for flu. want to take you to washington, d.c. we see nancy pelosi talking outside the white house after meeting with the president this morning with other congressional leaders. let's listen in. >> we should have a goal in terms of how much deficit reduction. we should have a deadline before
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christmas. we should show some milestones of success so that confidence can build as we reach our solution. because if we do not reach agreement, not only will we miss the opportunity for doing something good for our economy and lifting the spirits and the confidence in our country, we will have an economic downturn that must be avoided. we understand our responsibility there. we understand that it has to be about cuts. it has to be about revenue. it has to be about growth. it has to be about the future. so as we cut investments and as we talk about revenue, we have to do so in a way that promotes growth and supports the future. it was good. i feel confident that a solution may be in sight. mitch? >> i can only echo the observations of the other leaders that it was a constructive meeting. we all understand where we are.
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i can say on the part of my members that we fully understand that you can't save the country until you have entitlement programs that fit the demographics of the changing america in the coming years. we're prepared to put revenue on the table, provided we fix the real problem. even though most of my members i think without exception believe that we're in the dilemma we're in not because we tax too little but because we spend too much. just one final observation on another issue, i had a chance to talk with the president yesterday about his trip to burma, a country that i've had a long standing interest in over the last 20 years. i want to commend him for going. i think it's an important step for him to take. >> thanks, everybody. >> the major players there, the congressional leaders that met with president obama today. we have house speaker john boehner, minority leader nancy pelosi, senate majority leader harry reid, and minority leader mitch mcconnell from the senate
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there. as we heard in the last statements, the last two people to take the microphones, nancy pelosi talking about her optimism and confidence out of the meeting today but most importantly there mitch mcconnell bringing up the fact that revenue is on the table and that these were constructive talks. however, bringing up the point that they need to take on entitlement programs and look at those just as fiercely as well as they're looking at tax revenue. we're back with much more right after this. oh...there you go. wooohooo....hahaahahaha! i'm gonna stand up to her! no you're not. i know. you know ronny folks who save hundreds of dollars switching to geico sure are happy. how happy are they jimmy? happier than a witch in a broom factory. get happy. get geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more.
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more information now on breaking news we've had this hour about an oil platform exploding. the burning in the gulf of mexico, our initial reports have helicopter crews rescuing at least four people there. medevacing them out because of injuries. two other people reported as missing. right now joining me live on the phone is jefferson parrish councilman at large chris roberts. it is great to have you with us to help explain to all of us about what we know, the facts about this platform exploding. do we have any information about
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what caused it? >> we don't have any information about what caused it. that really is going to be left up to the coast guard to make a determination. right now they're in search and rescue mode. the coast guard, from what we understand, has responded. there have been four patients that have been airlifted to our parish hospital, three of them we received word on are in critical condition. there are also reports, although unofficial at this time, two people have died and there are other people who may be missing. the latest from the coast guard is that the platform fire is attempting to be extinguished and we're waiting for additional word from them as to whether or not there are other issues that has to be dealt with in with regards to this. >> nbc news has not verified any deaths in relation to this. where are you getting your information from? >> from local reports and also from our emergency management department and others who have
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been speaking with people in the private industry and in addition to conversations that they're having with videos at the coast guard. >> because this explosion is happening, it's not a deepwater well, something that's very close to the shoreline. >> correct. that's the big difference that everyone needs to keep in mind. this is a shallow water platform. that being said, it's not in an area that's very difficult to get to. i also want to point out there are two different types of -- types of structures that are used in oil production. one is a drilling rig, like what we saw back in 2010 with the deepwater horizon that actually drills into the dead of the gulf to attempt to retool and then a platform that's typically brought in once oil has been reached in order to produce the oil and send it to the coastline. this is a platform. we have heard some reports they were doing maintenance on this platform when this incident occurred, but i want to be very
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clear in stating that official word is going to come from the coast guard. this is an event that happened about an hour and a half ago. the information we're getting is coming in rather quickly and it's coming from various sources. however, the lead on this investigation and also to give any specifics is going to come from the coast guard. we can confirm that four people have been air lifted to our parish hospital. >> as we work to get confirmation about injuries and potential deaths involved with this, this being a platform does it lessen the effect there could be any type of major oil spill so close to shoreline. >> it does. platforms are typically in 500 feet of water or less. the types of challenges that you potentially deal with are much less than what we saw with the drilling rig which is with a deepwater drilling rig.
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keep in mind too, it's not unusual to have a fire on the surface, but that doesn't necessarily mean they have not been able to stop the source of the oil that's coming up. so, it's -- it was a very unique situation with the deepwater horizon where a number of events came into play including the blowout preventer that did not work, whereas in this case here, yes, we're awaiting word as to whether or not there's any oil in the water, but our industry experts and others we speak with say that if that is the case, it's not anywhere close to the challenges that we saw in 2010. >> jefferson parish councilman chris roberts thanks for joining us. we appreciate your insights into what's taking place there. the coast guard is saying the oil rig platform happened in the grand isle area. we have confirmation about four people being medevac'd to their injuries potentially two others being missed. we have not verified any deaths
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but the councilman saying he's heard there could be two. we'll bring you more as we get it here. also in the news today, certainly big-time talks at the white house wrapping up on the fiscal cliff that could have a big impact on the president's second term. throughout history second-term presidents have accomplished everything from welfare overhauls to tax reform. what will be the legacy of president obama? as they say past is pro logged. joining us is historian michael berb loss. >> thanks, thomas. some believe there can be a second term curse. how does president obama avoid that? >> well, in a way he may not be able to because sometimes there's an event. we saw this oil rig thing in the gulf of mexico, thank god doesn't look as if it's going to be like the bp. harry truman had to deal with the invasion of korea. he couldn't foresee that. a couple things a president can do, avert crisis. nixon, reagan, clinton had crises in their second term, cast a shadow. the more important thing make
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sure he doesn't overreach, doesn't do something like johnson did, wage a whole vietnam war that went way beyond his political support and destroyed him. >> people would look at the first four years and think that the president may have overreached in certain areas there. in -- >> but successfully. >> so people might anticipate he could really come out swinging in the next four years with accomplishments. >> absolutely. optional -- he did health care, gay marriage, several other things, someone else who was president might not have done and was able to do those things. second term, we'll see what barack obama is made of. the kind of things he does optionally and that's going to be fascinating to watch and find out. >> how do they play it to the administration to not be emboldened and not overly arrogant in wanting to be comprehensive in the next four years? >> you have a president that reads history. the news conference the other day, he says i'm familiar with the literature on second-term
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overreach. forgive me as saying so from a historian but he's learned a little from history. >> i'm sorry for our abbreviated time but we had breaking news today. have a great weekend. i'll see you back here monday at 11:00 eastern. until then find me on twitter @thomasaroberts. noig with alex wagner comes your way next. i always wait until the last minute. can i still ship a gift in time for christmas? yeah, sure you can. great. where's your gift? uh... whew. [ male announcer ] break from the holiday stress. ship fedex express by december 22nd for christmas delivery. to volunteer to help those in need. when a twinge of back pain surprises him. morning starts in high spirits, but there's a growing pain in his lower back.
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♪ [ male announcer ] some day, your life will flash before your eyes. ♪ make it worth watching. ♪ the new 2013 lexus ls. an entirely new pursuit. a wild elephant? 50 years. average life span for a presidential elephant? unclear. it is friday, november 15th, and this is "now." joining me today, senior national correspondent for bloomberg business week josh green, best-selling author jay m